Although it seemed that Carolina Panthers will ride it out with Ron Rivera as a head coach until the end of the season, that didn’t happen. Panthers’ announced on Tuesday that they have fired Rivera.
Panthers’ decision comes after the team suffered four straight losses which brought them down to 5-7 record and far away from playoffs. Rivera was in his ninth year as Carolina’s coach.
“I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team,” said Panthers owner David Tepper in a statement. “I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community. I wish him the best. I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers.”
This comes just days after Rivera brushed off the questions about his job status and said that he isn’t “worried” about his future with the organization. The 57-year-old was on a hot seat for some time now, but it is believed that Sunday’s embarrassing loss to Washington Redskins, who had just two wins entering the game, eventually sealed Rivera’s faith.
During his nine years with the franchise, Ron Rivera posted 76-63-1 record, being the coach with most wins in Carolina Panthers’ history. He led the team to four playoff appearances and made it to Super Bowl 50 in the 2015 NFL season. Rivera has also won two Coach of the Year awards.
Just like Carolina will begin their search for a new head coach, Rivera will also immediately start seeking another opportunity. He told the media on Wednesday that he will coach again and doesn’t intend to have a long break.
“My intent is to coach again,” Rivera said. “I love coaching. Not just coaching because it’s about winning football games, but coaching because you have an opportunity to impact young men and people. And that’s what I want to do.”